Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Entryways of Milan / Ingressi di Milano

First things first: This is a most wonderful book! Every time I open it and look at these stunning photographs by Matthew Billings, Delfino Sisto Legnani, and Paola Pansini, I feel impressed, delighted, enchanted.

Entryways of Milan, edited and directed by Karl Kolbitz comprises also texts by Fabrizio Ballabio (Milan's Ingressi as Liminal Spaces for Architectural Expression), Daniel Sherer (The Discreet Charm of the Entryway), Penny Sparke (Nature Inside: Plants in Interior Spaces), and Lisa Hockemeyer (Ceramics Everywhere: An Italian Heritage). The stone identification was done by Angela Ehling and Grazia Signori, the stone commentary by Grazia Signori, and the design identification and commentary by Brian Kish.
via Gabrio Srebelloni 10
Palazzo Sola-Busca
Aldo Andreani, 1924-30
walls: Ceppo dell'Adda, mediano (i.e. medium coarse-grained)
stairs: Botticino limestone

 "Few conventions of architecture are as omnipresent, and at the same time as taken for granted, as the threshold. The purpose of the threshold seems straightforward enough: to allow passage between interior and exterior while establishing a formal demarcation between the two domains. However, it should be remembered that the threshold, as a liminal zone – indeed, as a decisive paradigm of liminality itself – is riven by ambiguity; simultaneously joining and separating, it generates a space that is neither inside nor outside, but partakes of both. In this respect, the threshold, which might seem to sanction a clear-cut spatial division, actually disrupts any unequivocal categories of interior and exterior", writes Daniel Sherer.

I've never thought about thresholds in this way yet it reminded me of quite similar thoughts that I entertained a few years ago in Southern California. My host and I were crossing the desert when all of a sudden he stopped at an oasis that served as a stopover for migrating birds. Looking at the  fringes where the green grass met the sand, I wondered where the desert ended and the oasis started or vice versa. In other words, the categories we make up are just categories. If you look at the thresholds in this book with this in mind you might very likely see a connection and not a division.
corso di Porta Nuova 2
Giuseppe Roberto Martinenghi, 1937
floor: Arabescato Carrara marble
walls: Nero Assoluto d'Talia limestone
and Calacatta marble

To me, looking at these entryways is like watching a movie. For what my eyes are registering is one thing, to where however my imagination/my brain is transporting me quite another. Needless to say, I cant't stop wondering where these entryways lead to and keep asking myself what may lie behind these doors.

Apart from the stunning designs, it is the colours and the colour combinations respectively I'm fascinated by. And, how the photographers chose to frame these entryways. I've tried to put myself into their shoes and stepped mentally back and forth, away fom the doors and then again closer to them. In other words, I've mentally played with the frames, imagined myself to slightly alter them only to realise how brilliantly the photographers had done their work. These compositions are simply marvelous!

Do the inhabitants of these buildings pay attention to these stunning entryways or, and this is what I actually suppose, do they take them for granted? If it were the latter, they'd be well advised to consult this extraordinary work.
via Giuseppe Dezza 49
Gio Ponti, Antonio Fornaroli, Alberto Roselli, 1952-56
Sconce by Gio Ponti
floor: serpentinite Verde Acceglio, Porta Santa limestone
Carrara Bardiglio marble, Carrara Bianco marble

Some years ago, I aimed my camera for a while at chairs, then at doors and windows. Entryways of Milan inspires me to again pursue a project that focuses on a specific topic. Dorothea Lange once said that the camera taught her to see without a camera. The cameras of photographers Billings, Legnani, and Pansini made me see what I otherwise would very probably never have been able to see. Thank you! It was a mosr joyful and rewarding experience.

Karl Kolbitz
Entryways of Milan
Ingressi di Milano
Taschen, Cologne 2017

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